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    « Sex, Libido, and Exercise | Main | New Content Alert »

    5 Exercises for Fantastic Quads

    Leg day.  Not my favorite workout, but a necessary part of any exercise regimen.

    I get a good chuckle out of seeing guys (girls too) who have obviously spent a LOT of time working on their upper bodies (chest, arms and abs) but have neglected the lower body almost entirely.  It's like seeing Arnold's upper body on a pair of stilts. 

    What those folks don't realize is that serious attention must be given to the legs in order to prevent the "chicken leg" appearance.  Cardio has the effect of wearing down muscle tissue, especially in the legs.  Combine that effect with no meaningful weight training for the legs, and the "skinny" results are obvious to even the most casual observer.

    So we've got to suck up the discomfort and leave that happy place for a while as we sculp our legs into pillars of steel (had to get a cliché in here somewhere).  Here are 5 leg exercises that will shape your quads (upper front of the leg).

    1. Incline Leg Press - There's a machine for this at the gym.  Load the leg press sled with your weight, release the catches, and start pushing (with your heels!).  There's not much of a home option for this exercise unless you can get creative.
    2. Lunges - the perfect at-home exercise.  Grab a pair of dumbbells and go to the end of the longest room in your home.  Take a long step forward, careful to keep your forward knees behind your toes of your forward foot, and lower the knee of your back leg to the floor (without actually touching the floor).  Press up with the forward leg to a standing position and step forward with the opposite leg.  Do 10 reps per side for 3-5 sets.
    3. Squats - there are about a dozen variations of the squat, but for simplicity we'll stick to the basic squat.  Weights are preferred because the legs are accustomed to carrying the body weight around.  Growth occurs faster with higher weights.  From a standing position, lower the body by bending the knees and keeping the back as straight as possible (no hunching over).  Keep your knees above (but not in front of) your toes; do this by sticking your butt way out as if you are trying to sit on a chair that is just a little to far away from you.  When the upper legs reach parallel, press upward through your heels (not the balls of your feet).  Flex your quads at the top.  3-5 sets of 12 of these should get your blood pumping.
    4. Belgian Squats - this is an explosive plyometric exercise that involves jumping, so consider this an advanced technique.  Basically, a Belgian squat starts as a regular squat - back straight, knees over the toes, deep knee bend.  Forcefully press from the heels and jump into the air.  Upon landing, return to the same deep squat position in good form.  Perform 3 sets of 20 of these and get back to me.
    5. Leg extensions - this was my go-to exercise when I broke my foot.  Again, you're using a machine, so this isn't a good option for a home workout (unless you have a bench with an attachment).  Basically, sit on the bench, select your weight, hook your feet behind the ankle pad and go.  The key is to remember to flex the quads and not the muscles around the knees.  The best way I've found to use this particular exercise is to put it last in the workout.  Perform 2 sets of 12.  At the end of the second set, lower the weight to about 2/3 of your normal weight and do s-l-o-w repetitions - 2 seconds up, 2 seconds hold, 2 seconds down.  After about 10 of these, you should be having a religious experience because all of the blood will leave your head and go straight to your quads (figuratively speaking of course).

    Have fun with these exercises, and remember: no leg day = chicken legs.

    Be well!

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    Reader Comments (1)

    all speak only diet,diet before the exercise are more important, i think

    April 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergerovital

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